how to master the 3 essential steps so you can book dreamy clients!
Hi, I'm Marisa, founder of Quill & Co. We work with doers and go-getters ready to do something truly ambitious so that they can stand out and find brand clarity.
2020 was a hard year for all of us but there were still moments worth celebrating. I think it’s safe to say that every single one of us had an eye opening year, that split us open, and helped us learn a lot about the world that we live in.
What I want you to know is that just existing and making it through this year is enough. And if you were able to get a few more things done, that is an extraordinary accomplishment worth celebrating.
So here are a few wins, things that didn’t go so well, and some of my key intentions for moving into 2021.
At the beginning of the year I brought on a Junior Designer to help with some projects.
Next I outsourced my Pinterest management. I get a lot of traffic to my website from Pinterest, but I wasn’t very good at being consistent and was always putting things off.
Later in the year, I brought on a Virtual Assistant. I work most closely with her and it’s been amazing to have someone to bounce ideas off of and to have additional support on the areas I am constantly pushing off.
I wasn’t really expecting to ever launch a course but… then I did. It’s funny how things happen. It all started from a poll on Instagram where a lot of other designers said they wanted a template for Brand Strategy. But the more I thought about it, a template doesn’t solve the problem. Sure it speeds up the process and makes you more efficient, but having a template doesn’t make you a better brand thinker. So I decided to make a course that goes through the whole brand strategy process, that goes over key concepts around phycology and brand, and how it plays a role in the design.
I ended up pre-selling the course, creating it, and launching it within three months. It was a lot of work (anyone that tells you that passive income is passive is lying) but it was so worth it! And now we have almost 100 students enrolled! It also became a catalyst for me to partner up with other designers and share about brand strategy to their audience and to speak at a summit on brand strategy.
Launching Brand Clarity Academy opened my eyes to how much I love supporting and cheering on other designers. And it’s something that I’m really looking forward to doing more of in 2021.
I took on less clients this year but with more robust projects and that was really fulfilling to me. I love working really closely and INSIDE someone else’s businesses with them. In 2019 I worked with mostly photographers and wedding industry professionals and my goal for 2020 was to expand my niche. In 2020 I worked with a handful of different industries like therapists, addiction specialists, historic window restoration, business coaches, florists, bloggers, course creators, and photographers. It was really refreshing and exciting to work with so many different industries.
One of my favorite parts of potential client calls is getting to know them, their business, and hearing all about their big dreams and goals for their brand. So when COVID first hit, I was excited that I was getting an influx in inquiries and booking more sales calls. But the thing is, no one was actually booking me. Over 73% of my sales calls didn’t result in a booked project in 2020. I was getting frustrated with the time spent on sales calls, putting together proposals, and the back and forth communication.
I’ve experimented with having package prices, having pricing on my website, having pricing not on my website, and value-based pricing. I don’t know if I have found the solution yet, but I have a few things I want to experiment with in 2021 to speed up the sales process for me and to be more transparent with potential clients.
I let a lot of things slide in 2020. Maybe it’s because of the overall exhaustion that this year brought us, but I had to pick and choose battles and a lot of them I honestly just let go. But this didn’t help anyone in the long run. It led me to feel burnt out and resentful when really it was my fault for not sticking to my boundaries or to the contract. It’s my goal to always approach things with fairness, compassion, and excellence, but It’s also important for me in 2021 to stick to my boundaries.
We signed on our house at the beginning of January and got our dog the week before the COVID shut down happened. It was kind of stressful not really knowing what was going to happen but I’m so so glad that it all worked out how it did. I love our little house and I’m so glad that we have our dog that gets us outside and always reminds me to find joy in the little things.
We spent a lot of time and energy on house projects this year! It’s definitely been a labor of love but has been so much fun making our house reflect who we are. Plus we have learned so many skills along the way like plumbing, electrical, drywall, woodworking, tiling. One of my favorite moments of 2020 was Danny face timing his dad an entire afternoon while his dad instructed him on how to install an instant hot water heater. Right now, we are in the middle of a bathroom remodel (and by the way, we only have one bathroom). It’s definitely been an adventure.
When the wildfires hit Oregon and the air quality got so bad we decided that since we both work from home that we should just drive across the country to see my family since nothing was really keeping us in Oregon. From sleeping in our car in a middle school parking lot to touring the country via dog parks, it was certainly a trip. But I am most thankful for the three months we spent on the east coast with my parents. I rarely get to see them so it was really nice getting in so much quality time.
Like a lot of us, 2020 had me craving more community. And not in the Instagram following, Facebook group community kind of way. Like the real, actually know you, kind of community. We have a lot of exciting things up our sleeve so stay tuned for the Quill Collective announcement.
Quill & Co has felt kind of “off” to me for a while and I kept pushing off a brand refresh and new website to focus on supporting clients and students. Quill & Co is all about empowering, supporting, and building confidence in women in business- and the brand, it wasn’t reflecting that. I’m so excited to start sharing with you the new Quill & Co. I’m bringing back some older brand colors and elements but with a fun, playful spin.
In 2020 I actively looked for ways to bring more ease and joy into my life and it’s something that I’ll be carrying into 2021. I finally hired a house cleaner to start in January. Having a clean and tidy house has a direct impact on my anxiety levels… but the catch is that I hate to clean. I struggled with hiring a house cleaner because I honestly felt guilty, or maybe lazy. I don’t have children, I don’t have a big house. Shouldn’t I just be able to do this? But I decided it’s just another way to bring more ease and joy into my life, to free up my down time to spend on things that I actually like doing.
2020 was a struggle but nestled in there were moments to celebrate. It can be easy to throw ourselves into planning new goals and hoping that the new year will bring us a clean slate. But taking a look at your year is a great way to exercise mindfulness, slow down, and reminisce about your favorite moments.
If you are into setting goals, and maybe you already have a few ideas of what you want to accomplish in the new year, taking a look a your past year will make sure that those goals are in line with your priorities and values.